When Robyn Williams recently equated skeptics to paedophiles on the ABC “Science” Show the skeptic-most-targeted was Maurice Newman, former chairman of the ABC itself. Newman responds to these deplorable and unscientific insults in today’s Australian and throws down the challenge to the current board.
ABC clique in control of climate
- by: MAURICE NEWMAN
- From: The Australian
- December 18, 2012 12:00AM
On November 24, Robyn Williams intoned to his audience on ABC’s The Science Show, “if I told you that pedophilia is good for children, or asbestos is an excellent inhalant for those with asthma, or, that smoking crack is a normal part and a healthy one of teenage life, you’d rightly find it outrageous. Similar statements are coming out of inexpert mouths again and again, distorting the science”. My article was given as an example of an anti-scientific position.Really? Questioning climate science is like advocating pedophilia, abetting mesothelioma and pushing drugs to teenagers? Well yes, according to the ABC’s science man. Stephan Lewandowsky, a guest on the program, asserted that those with a free market background were, according to his research, more likely to be sceptical of science. As well as climate science, “they are also rejecting the link between smoking and lung cancer; they are rejecting the link between HIV and AIDS”, the professor said. Happily, it was extremely difficult to detect people on the “Left side of politics who are rejecting scientific evidence”.
Williams confirmed that after “a learned lecture” by one of the world’s most famous scientists, bankers remained unconvinced.
So there you have it. No more proof needed. Free marketers, bankers and science contrarians are simply despicable flat earthers. Best to keep away from them.Ordinarily it should be unnecessary to object to such appalling commentary. It should have been automatically withdrawn. But no. An ABC response used sophistry to satisfy itself “that the presenter Robyn Williams did not equate climate change sceptics to pedophiles”. Tell that to his listeners.
Lubos Motl, a climate commentator and string theory physicist, said about the ABC’s Science Show: “We used to hear some remotely similar (Czech) propaganda programs until 1989 … but the public radio and TV simply can’t produce programs that would be this dishonest, manipulative, hateful and insulting any more”.
ABC editorial policies require a diversity of perspectives to be presented so that “over time no significant strand or belief is knowingly excluded or disproportionately represented”. They also speak of “a balance that follows the weight of evidence”. But who does the weighing? Who re-weights and when? Or is it set and forget?
We have seen the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change discredited. We know the science is less robust. And, for the past 16 years, mother nature has been kind to the sceptics. Because Williams says the entire globe is threatened in a way that is pretty dire doesn’t make it so. Yet the “weight of evidence” argument is often used as a licence to vilify holders of alternative views. As a taxpayer-funded organisation, the ABC shouldn’t even have a view on global warming. What it does have is a duty to all Australians to broadcast honestly the best available evidence on both sides of the argument so that we can make up our own minds. This is not happening.
I retain a deep affection for the ABC. But, like the BBC, there are signs that a small but powerful group has captured the corporation, at least on climate change.
It is up to the board and management to rectify this.